Obesity and colon cancer

No diagnosis incites as much dread, fear and hopelessness as a cancer diagnosis. When you are in that doctor’s office, his eyes carefully avoiding yours as he looks at your chart and stumbles his way through the words, “Unfortunately, it is a malignant tumor,” you feel as though the air has been sucked out of you. The initial feeling is like being a balloon that has lost all air – you feel like a shriveled, weak mess and you feel like you may never experience joy again. After the reality sets in and you are finally able to breathe again, you begin to realize that there is a foreign body within you that is beginning to kill you. The urge to grab the nearest sharp object and dig the tumor out yourself is almost unstoppable.

How would you feel if you also found out that you could have prevented, or at least decreased your chances, of having this diagnosis if you had lost weight? Would you begin to resent your choices as much as you resent the cancer? So, why not change your life right now- before going down this road? Why not learn how to reduce your chances of becoming diagnosed with cancers like colon cancer?

The National Cancer Institute has found a colon cancer link to obesity. According to the National Cancer Institute, 25-30% of all major cancer sufferers (including those suffering from colon cancer ) are overweight and do not exercise consistently. Several studies have found that colon cancer occurs more often in people who are overweight than those who are a normal weight. The reasons are different for male patients and female patients, but the facts remain the same.

In women, estrogen levels seem to play some part in increasing the risk of colon cancer. When women become obese, they begin to produce more estrogen and insulin.

For men, the size of their waist and BMI seem to be in direct correlation with their risk of colon cancer. If you are a man and have a large waist combined with a high Body Mass Index, your chances of getting colon cancer are increased.

In 2002, many of the observational trials that had been conducted to study colon cancer were re-reviewed and an interesting discovery was made. The discovery was that any kind of consistent exercise or physical activity, including three to four hours of brisk walking per week, reduced the study participant’s risk of a colon cancer diagnosis by about 50%. How easy does that make it? Walk at least 4 hours a week at a brisk pace – and you could reduce your likelihood of being diagnosed with colon cancer by 50%.

Researchers at University of Alabama at Birmingham have discovered an even scarier colon cancer link to obesity. The UAB researchers found the fat hormone adiponectin, which is created by the gene ADIPOQ, can be genetically inherited and increases your risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer by 30%. This discovery may be able to help in the early diagnosis of colon cancer since researchers are trying to find a way to isolate the gene’s appearance in your DNA, but that’s not exactly a solution- it’s just an early warning method.

The total impact of weight and exercise on colon cancer risk is still being explored. While the National Cancer Institute has not determined that losing weight will decrease your risk of colon cancer, they do state that adding exercise to your routine can help you reduce your risk. A visit with your primary care physician should help you develop a healthy diet and exercise routine that may help to keep colon cancer at bay.

Last updated on Aug 17th, 2010 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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